Asians for Humans, Animals & Nature

Jung and Pretty

It was a rainy day. I went to Walgreens to finish my last errand. At the side of the entrance door, there was a homeless man ( well mannered and clean) who tried to borrow a cigarette from a passing stranger. Sitting on the ground beside him was a beautiful black German Shepherd. She looked very young and healthy and appeared to be six or seven months old. I told myself not to get involved and went inside the store. I guess I always have a soft spot for animals and their caretakers. I couldn't help but pick up some food and water for the homeless man and the dog. When I got outside, I was pleased to see that they were still there. By then, I knew I had to pet the dog and find out more about her situation.

I have heard many stories about how some homeless people display animals at a hand-out area to appeal to people's soft spots and hopefully get more money. I was hoping this was not the case. I felt if I put in a little effort, maybe my help could make a difference.

I started a conversation as I petted the dog. The homeless man told me he was very lonely and saved up $400 to buy the dog. She is a pure German Shepherd named Pretty. I asked him if he intended to get Pretty spayed. He said he would like to but didn't have the money now.

He seemed to be very sincere. I felt really relieved about his willingness to get the dog spayed, so I offered to help. I told him to wait for me the next morning at the same place, and if I managed to find a place to take care of the surgery, I would take Pretty to be spayed and then to my home to recuperate. I was very pleased that he agreed to do it.

I came home and made some phone calls. The SPCA does have a program to help homeless people's pets but they require the owner to be present when the dog is brought in. I was reluctant to do that, because I really didn't know this person, and if I relied on him to take the bus to the SPCA, I didn't know if he would consider that a priority.

I finally found a vet in Novato, who agreed to do the surgery on that same day. I went to meet the homeless man and picked up Pretty. After I dropped her off, I realized that if she recuperated at my home even for just a few days, I knew I would get too attached to her and it would be too difficult for me to return her to Jung, her owner. I decided to board her at the Vet for her recuperation.

I picked up Pretty five days later. She must have been cage crazy, because when I put her in the back of my station wagon with a chain so she wouldn't get out in case I opened the door. Somehow she managed to squeeze herself through a small hole and became stuck in the middle of the passenger seat. She couldn't make it to the front seat because of the chain. While all that was happening she pooped in the car, and since I was on the freeway, I couldn't stop to clean it up.

We finally got to Walgreens, and I hoped Jung, her owner, would be there. He wasn't so I took Pretty to my home and cleaned up the car. Jung was there when we went to find him the second time. Pretty sat next to me and I told her what a good girl she was. It was still raining and the thought of her being with Jung again broke my heart but I had no choice. I didn't want to break the trust between Jung and me. I was hoping later on I could talk him into letting me help find Pretty a more permanent home if his situation didn't improve.

I was glad I didn't let her recuperate in my home because it would have been even more difficult for me to give her up. I bought more food and water for them and left my card with him and assured him if he needed any help with Pretty, he could contact me and I would help him. He told me he had found a shelter that will allow him and Pretty to stay inside at night temporarily .

As I was leaving them, I had mixed feelings about the whole situation. I was glad that Pretty had been spayed, so I didn't have to worry about her being used as a breeding machine for money. I was sad that such a nice dog had to live a life that is so unstable. I prayed that some day Jung will get his life together, and somehow I believe Pretty will have a lot to do with that.